ORLANDO, Fla. -- If you were one of the thousands of 49ers fans screaming for a replay review on NaVorro Bowman's obvious fumble recovery in the NFC Championship game, your pleas have been heard. The NFL owners today passed the so-called "Bowman rule," which will allow reviews on loose-ball scrambles like Bowman's against Seattle.
Although replays clearly showed that Bowman, who suffered a grisly knee injury on the play, stripped the ball from a Seahawks receiver, then was down by contact with the ball in his grasp, officials ruled that Seattle recovered. Jim Harbaugh was unable to challenge the play at the time. The 49ers voted in favor of the measure.
Centralized replay reviews, which will allow officials to consult with the league's officiating command center in New York, also passed. The 49ers voted in favor of that as well. "Hopefully it speeds up the time of the review," Jim Harbaugh said today. "Hopefully it gets (reviews) right better."
Also passed today: A proposal to raise the height of the uprights by five feet in order to eliminate tough-to-judge kicks that pass over the uprights. The league's owners tabled a proposal to install extra cameras along the end lines, goal lines and sidelines.
The league also will experiment with a proposal to move extra-point kicks from the 2-yard line to the 25-yard line during the first two weeks of the preseason. That will make the one-point try the equivalent of a 43-yard field goal.
- Matt Barrows